There’s nothing particularly new about roboticists creating mechanical versions of some of nature’s creatures for research purposes, but in the cases of honeybees and whirligigs, the threat of crippling nightmares is minimal. But once people start devising gigantic robotic jellyfish, it’s time to invest in a lunar time share.
Virginia Tech‘s College of Engineering and — making their second appearance on our site today — the U.S. Naval Research team have come together to create that swimming monstrosity seen in the video above. Its design is inspired by the lion’s mane jellyfish, which is the largest known species of jellyfish in the world. Its size will hopefully help them understand more about the graceful manner in which jellyfish move around. It uses a series of eight metal arms that pulse in much the same way as its natural counterpart. Its body is made from a cap of silicon over five and a half feet in diameter, which makes it one of the largest and deadliest breast implants ever to exist.
Using a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery as its power source, this particular robot will take to the high seas for weeks and possibly months at a time, unaided by human hands. Beyond the potential for oceanic practical jokes, the synthetic jellyfish could one day be used for military intelligence and surveillance (natch), but could also aid in the planet’s well being by performing environmental studies and cleaning up oil spills. I give this another three days before Syfy pits a gigantic robotic millipede against it.